|Still from Contagion|
As always, Steven Soderbergh aims high and his latest $60 million Sci-Fi/Thriller imagines a World at the mercy of a mysterious Airborne Killer Disease. It is portrait of what life would be like for us if we were reduced to our most primal need to fight for survival. The Story centers around an international team of Doctors who are called upon with a daunting assignment from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, while the number of victims impacted quickly multiplies into the millions.
Contagion follows the interweaving stories of people around the World impacted by the Disease. Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to the U.S. after a visit to Macau, falling gravely ill within days. Her death then is linked to a number of other mysterious deaths around the World and soon we see the implications of this Disease as it spreads, whether it be her Husband Thomas (Matt Damon) who never gets an opportunity to grieve her passing as he too is forced to worry about his own health. We also see Erin (Kate Winslet) step-up as a Doctor to face the challenge of dealing with the Outbreak, risking her own life to save others.
Meanwhile, Ellis (Laurence Fishburne), struggles to suppress his own fears on a personal level to ensure both he and his Wife (Sanaa Lathan) survive, while at once having to maintain order on a public surface as access to an effective Vaccine is extremely limited. We also see Alan (Jude Law), a Medical Blogger out to expose corruption in the treatment of the Disease. Leonora (Marion Cotillard) is sent to China to study the Disease, but soon finds herself also caught amidst the corruption.
Those hoping to see a Movie with a copious amount of Gross-out might find themselves a tad underwhelmed with Soderbergh focusing much attention on this web of stories and their connection to the Disease. This however might have worked against the Story as we never quite get a big enough picture of the damage done by the Disease in order to fully grasp its destructiveness.
This talented Ensemble Cast shines however, especially Winslet who is incredibly focused in her delivery and convincing in the brief time she is seen. Cotillard also is seen too little but as always enchanting, while Law in is stellar in all his rebellious glory as the unsung Hero of the Story.
This Film is by all means entertaining and successful at grabbing and holding our attentions, but lacks that all-important sense of struggle to make us root for that ultimate victory against the greatest villain here, the Disease itself. Warner Bros. releases Contagion nationally on September 9, 2011. Grade: B+